Nanomaterials2016, 6(5), 83; doi:10.3390/nano6050083 (registering DOI) - published 29 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The biodistribution of 300 nm polystyrene particles in A549 lung epithelial cells has been studied with confocal Raman spectroscopy. This is a label-free method in which particles and cells can be imaged without using dyes or fluorescent labels. The main drawback with Raman imaging is the comparatively low spatial resolution, which is aggravated in heterogeneous systems such as biological samples, which in addition often require long measurement times because of their weak Raman signal. Long measurement times may however induce laser-induced damage. In this study we use a super-resolution algorithm with Tikhonov regularization, intended to improve the image quality without demanding an increased number of collected pixels. Images of cells exposed to polystyrene particles have been acquired with two different step lengths, i.e., the distance between pixels, and compared to each other and to corresponding images treated with the super-resolution algorithm. It is shown that the resolution after application of super-resolution algorithms is not significantly improved compared to the theoretical limit for optical microscopy. However, to reduce noise and artefacts in the hyperspectral Raman images while maintaining the spatial resolution, we show that it is advantageous to use short mapping step lengths and super-resolution algorithms with appropriate regularization. The proposed methodology should be generally applicable for Raman imaging of biological samples and other photo-sensitive samples.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(5), 81; doi:10.3390/nano6050081 - published 27 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The need for novel design strategies for fluorescent nanomaterials to improve our understanding of biological activities at the molecular level is increasing rapidly. Dye-doped fluorescent silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) emerge with great potential for developing fluorescence imaging techniques as a novel and ideal platform for the monitoring of living cells and the whole body. Organic dye-containing fluorescent SiNPs exhibit many advantages: they have excellent biocompatibility, are non-toxic, highly hydrophilic, optically transparent, size-tunable and easily modified with various biomolecules. The outer silica shell matrix protects fluorophores from outside chemical reaction factors and provides a hydrophilic shell for the insoluble nanoparticles, which enhances the photo-stability and biocompatibility of the organic fluorescent dyes. Here, we give a summary of the synthesis, characteristics and applications of fluorescent SiNPs for non-invasive fluorescence bioimaging in live cells and in vivo. Additionally, the challenges and perspectives of SiNPs are also discussed. We prospect that the further development of these nanoparticles will lead to an exciting breakthrough in the understanding of biological processes.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(5), 82; doi:10.3390/nano6050082 - published 27 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Water-dispersible ZnS:Mn nanocrystals (NCs) were synthesized by capping the surface with polar L-aspartic acid (Asp) molecules. The obtained ZnS:Mn-Asp NC product was optically and physically characterized using the corresponding spectroscopic methods. The ultra violet-visible (UV-VIS) absorption spectrum and photoluminescence (PL) emission spectrum of the NCs showed broad peaks at 320 and 590 nm, respectively. The average particle size measured from the obtained high resolution-transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) image was 5.25 nm, which was also in accordance with the Debye-Scherrer calculations using the X-ray diffraction (XRD) data. Moreover, the surface charge and degree of aggregation of the ZnS:Mn-Asp NCs were determined by electrophoretic and hydrodynamic light scattering methods, respectively. These results indicated the formation of agglomerates in water with an average size of 19.8 nm, and a negative surface charge (−4.58 mV) in water at ambient temperature. The negatively-charged NCs were applied as a photosensor for the detection of specific cations in aqueous solution. Accordingly, the ZnS:Mn-Asp NCs showed an exclusive luminescence quenching upon addition of copper (II) cations. The kinetic mechanism study on the luminescence quenching of the NCs by the addition of the Cu2+ ions proposed an energy transfer through the ionic binding between the two oppositely-charged ZnS:Mn-Asp NCs and Cu2+ ions.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(4), 79; doi:10.3390/nano6040079 - published 21 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In order to enhance salt rejection level and high pressure mechanical integrity, functionalized nanokaolin decorated multiwall carbon nanotubes (FNKM, 0–5 wt % loading) were incorporated into a cellulose acetate (CA) matrix using high temperature solution mixing methodology. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction technique (XRD), thermo-gravimetric analyzer (TGA) and Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) were used to characterize the prepared membranes. The obtained results revealed that with increasing FNKM concentration in the host polymeric matrix, composite membrane’s structural, functional, thermal, water permeation/flux and salt rejection characteristics were also modified accordingly. Percent enhancement in salt rejection was increased around threefold by adding 5 wt % FNKM in CA.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(4), 80; doi:10.3390/nano6040080 - published 21 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To investigate the fluorination influence on the photovoltaic performance of small molecular based organic solar cells (OSCs), six small molecules based on 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole (BT), and diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) as core and fluorinated phenyl (DFP) and triphenyl amine (TPA) as different terminal units (DFP-BT-DFP, DFP-BT-TPA, TPA-BT-TPA, DFP-DPP-DFP, DFP-DPP-TPA, and TPA-DPP-TPA) were synthesized. With one or two fluorinated phenyl as the end group(s), HOMO level of BT and DPP based small molecular donors were gradually decreased, inducing high open circuit voltage for fluorinated phenyl based OSCs. DFP-BT-TPA and DFP-DPP-TPA based blend films both displayed stronger nano-scale aggregation in comparison to TPA-BT-TPA and TPA-DPP-TPA, respectively, which would also lead to higher hole motilities in devices. Ultimately, improved power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 2.17% and 1.22% was acquired for DFP-BT-TPA and DFP-DPP-TPA based devices, respectively. These results demonstrated that the nano-scale aggregation size of small molecules in photovoltaic devices could be significantly enhanced by introducing a fluorine atom at the donor unit of small molecules, which will provide understanding about the relationship of chemical structure and nano-scale phase separation in OSCs.
Nanomaterials2016, 6(4), 77; doi:10.3390/nano6040077 - published 20 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Toward the objective of developing platform technologies for anti-infective materials based upon photodynamic inactivation, we employed electrospinning to prepare a non-woven textile comprised of polyacrylonitrile nanofibers embedded with a porphyrin-based cationic photosensitizer; termed PAN-Por(+). Photosensitizer loading was determined to be 34.8 nmol/mg material; with thermostability to 300 °C. Antibacterial efficacy was evaluated against four bacteria belonging to the ESKAPE family of pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus; vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium; Acinetobacter baumannii; and Klebsiella pneumonia), as well as Escherichia coli. Our results demonstrated broad photodynamic inactivation of all bacterial strains studied upon illumination (30 min; 65 ± 5 mW/cm2; 400–700 nm) by a minimum of 99.9996+% (5.8 log units) regardless of taxonomic classification. PAN-Por(+) also inactivated human adenovirus-5 (~99.8% reduction in PFU/mL) and vesicular stomatitis virus (>7 log units reduction in PFU/mL). When compared to cellulose-based materials employing this same photosensitizer; the higher levels of photodynamic inactivation achieved here with PAN-Por(+) are likely due to the combined effects of higher photosensitizer loading and a greater surface area imparted by the use of nanofibers. These results demonstrate the potential of photosensitizer-embedded polyacrylonitrile nanofibers to serve as scalable scaffolds for anti-infective or self-sterilizing materials against both bacteria and viruses when employing a photodynamic inactivation mode of action.